The Capoeira of Emily Behar’s Dreams

February 21, 2010

I went up to the main dune in town to watch the sunset today, and as I was coming back I was lured over to the capoeira circle (roda) that was starting to form on the beach.  There were men playing the instruments—a drum, the long, one-stringed things I’ve only seen here, the berimbau, a tambourine, and they were singing.  When I walked over, there were little boys in the circle—dark brown and blond haired going through the capoeira motions.  I went to go get Scott because they were so cute and looked like they were having so much fun.  A little while later the pros took over for the little boys.  They were incredible.

Here is someone else’s video of the same guys, but believe it or not, what we saw was even better.

I’m now newly intrigued by capoeira.  Aside from being incredibly, unbelievably athletic, there’s such a ritual to it, such codes of respect.  I can’t wait to do more research to learn the narratives of the songs.  It’s just clear you have to be so strong.  And to see those men do flips, with essentially no momentum, and nowhere in the small circle to go… The energy of the crowd was really cool, too—a gathering of all of the people who were dispersed over the beach, over the dunes, over the whole area through the day focusing in on this one point, this epicenter of movement and strength and intention as the sun set.

Also, as far as rituals go, I meant to write about this last week while we were in Pipa, but the surfers there did a really cool thing.  As they were running toward the water, their boards ready to take on the waves, they dipped a hand into the surf and crossed themselves.  I know this is a Catholic country, but it seemed purer than that, a praying to the ocean, a deference to the sea and a beautiful spiritual moment.  A pact between the surfer and the surf.

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2 Responses to “The Capoeira of Emily Behar’s Dreams”

  1. Great blog. Thanks for updating it regularly. Do you know if copoeira is available in Morocco?

  2. Elena said

    Love hearing about your travels 🙂 the “long, one-stringed things I’ve only seen here” is the berimbau instrument which is always part of the capoeira circle, or roda. I don’t know a whole lot about capoeira, but glad I could share some tidbits!

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